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Greg Cloutier of Lancaster, co-owner of the Rialto Theatre that anchors Lancaster's Main Street, proudly stands on Saturday in the second-floor projection room by the brand-new digital projector loaded with its first film, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," shown first on Friday night, Dec. 6. Photo by Edith Tucker. (click for larger version)
December 11, 2013
LANCASTER — "The sound's crisp," explained Greg Cloutier, co-owner of the Rialto Theatre as he showed off the brand-new digital movie projection system on the second-floor of the 1931 structure at 80 Main St.

The installation cost approximately $85,000, including new speakers and equipment, electrical work, and labor.

The selectmen loaned $50,000 to him and his business partner David Fuller Jr., and donations — large and small — continue to flow in to help make up the $35,000 balance.

"We're thrilled! And area residents are thrilled that the 'Go digital or go dark' campaign is succeeding," Cloutier said. "It amazing to see the downtown parking spaces filled; there's a great sense of community here."

The Rialto Theatre was built by Homer Graves to provide the town of Lancaster and the local area with a place to see the latest films, according to its website. When the theatre was built film was highly combustible, and the projection room still boasts an explosion-proof wall.

In its 82 years, the Rialto has seen its ups and its downs including closing from 1999 until 2002 and then again in the fall of 2011.

Cloutier and Fuller bought the theatre at auction under the company name Rialto Theatre, LLP, with the intention of bringing the beautiful historic theatre back to its glory. A mix of live entertainment and local events has been added to the film schedule to make the Rialto a community theatre once again.

"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" will open on Friday, Dec. 13.

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